Exercise is not my favorite thing to do. I have flat feet making running a problem. I have never understood how getting exhausted is supposed to give you energy. It doesn’t work for me. All I get out of it is a desire for an afternoon nap. There is suppose to be a magical wall you can press through to a good feeling while you suffer. I have never pressed through it. OK, I’ve never even seen it and don’t care to.
Yet, a few years ago I realized I had reached the place in life where things just weren’t working the way God designed them. I was too young for depends but my kagels didn’t know that. That was the first indicator it was time to fulfill a longstanding promise to myself. As a young man I had promised myself I would exercise when I was old and needed it. A friend who was into weight lifting admonished me I would not do it. “If you don’t exercise when you’re young you won’t do it when you get old.” I haven’t seen that friend in thirty years but I wonder what kind of shape he is in.
The second and determinative indicator it was time was backaches. They came on rather suddenly. Can you spell sciatica? Can you imagine muscle spasms? Have you ever had to roll out of bed? Do you routinely take Advil so you can sleep through the night? Then you might be over fifty.
I don’t exercise for my self-image. I don’t do it to delude myself into thinking I am young. I do it for two reasons. First, I don’t want to wear depends. Second, I am allergic to pain. If I don’t exercise regularly I hurt throughout the night and it takes me an hour just to work the kinks out. I am old and I exercise. It is a discipline of wisdom and not vanity.
My favorite piece of equipment is my Gazelle, you know, Tony Little, the guy with the pony tail. I have a regular routine. It includes upper body pushes and pulls, forward walking, side scissors, reverse kicks, etc. It is low impact, aerobic exercise without exhaustion. I can watch the news or listen to Scripture on CD while I work my way through the routine. Most importantly, it is all done in the convenience of my own home. All I have to do is stumble down two flights of stairs before I am good and awake. Sleepiness helps to fight the temptation to stop on the way down for coffee which of course requires something sweet to accompany it. “Oh, why did I do that? Now I can’t exercise; it might upset my stomach.” Believe me it’s best if I make it to the Gazelle before my last dream ends.
May 11, 2010